A 12-year-old boy on an inner tube being pulled behind a speedboat on Shasta Lake was run over by the vessel and is missing.
Shasta County sheriff’s deputies were called about 8 p.m. Monday to the lake’s Digger Bay, where the boating incident occurred. A girl was at the helm of the boat when the boy was being towed.
Deputies said they have arrested the only adult aboard at the time: Robert Noftz, 50, of Red Bluff, who was booked into Shasta County jail on suspicion of boating under the influence.
Sheriff’s deputies said the boy told the girl piloting the boat to try to knock him off the tube. In an attempt to do that, the girl turned sharply and hit the boat’s own wake. That sent the boat toward the boy.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
The boy, who was wearing a Coast Guard approved life jacket, left the tube and tried to swim away from the oncoming watercraft. However, he could not swim fast enough and was struck.
The boy went under the bow and disappeared into the lake. He has not been identified by the Sheriff’s Office.
The life jacket was recovered and showed evidence that it had been damaged by the boat’s propeller. The sheriff’s boat crew and a California Highway Patrol helicopter crew searched Digger Bay but were unable to find the boy.
Deputies said that Noftz was in command of the boat due to the age of the person at the helm.
“Because the juvenile driver is under 16 years of age, she has to be supervised by someone over 18 years of age,” the Sheriff’s Department news release said. “Noftz was the person supervising the underage operator and three other unidentified juveniles in the boat.”